Notre Dame, except football, to join ACC

September 12, 2012 3:39:42 PM PDT
Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference as a full member with the exception of football, but will play five football games annually against ACC teams, the school said in a news release Wednesday.

The Irish will join the ACC as soon as it can exit the Big East. The Big East currently requires members to provide 27 months notice to exit although West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were able to leave earlier by paying a higher exit fee.

"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," Jack Swarbrick, vice president and director of athletics at Notre Dame said in a statement. "This will enable us to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC’s non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."

"The ACC is composed of some of the most highly respected universities in the country, and we at Notre Dame look forward to joining them," Notre Dame's president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said.

Most Notre Dame athletics programs have been members of the Big East Conference since 1995 after previously competing in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, North Star Conference and as independents.

ACC officials welcomed the school Wednesday.

"The ACC was founded on the cornerstones of balancing academics, athletics and integrity," said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. "Our partnership with Notre Dame only strengthens this long-standing commitment."

Along with inviting Notre Dame, the ACC also says it has increased its exit fees for the conference's schools to three times the annual operation budget -- which would currently come to more than $50 million.

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